Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A Great College Town, Bob Oliva, Tiki Mayben and more

Monday evening I had an opportunity to visit Binghamton University to witness a mid major D1 men's college basketball game. I drove there with no idea of what to expect. During my drive, which is 1 hour and 40 minutes from my Pennsylvania home and 3 hours and 20 minutes from the metropolitan NY area, I imagined what I might see. I figured the gym would be somewhat outdated and seat around 2000. I figured people in the area would not even know a game was taking place. I figured the event would not be that exciting, especially since students were off campus.

I should have really known better because this was Binghamton NY! Binghamton is also the home of Broome Technical Community College which at one time was coached by Dick Baldwin, an ex coach who might still have the record for most college wins regardless of level. I still remember playing and Coaching against Broome Tech when I worked as a coach at Westchester Community College. It was a hard place to get a ticket and an even harder place to win based on them using the same refs for most games lol. But the crowds for Broome Tech games were legendary to NYC HS players and fans, We all know about this town, though we never heard of Binghamton University because they were a D3 school at the time. You knew the game would sell out and you would most likely lose.

Well I arrived in this gorgeous town, from what I could see at night, and asked the first gas station attendant I saw where the school was. He said to me if I gave him 5 minutes he would lead me because he was going to a basketball game there. I was stunned even more when he said his whole family owned season tickets. When I pulled into the campus it was as impressive as any campus I have seen outside of a very select few. I drove up to the Event Center and it was very impressive. I was again stunned. But the real shocker was when I walked in and saw all the local folks waiting to enter, folks who never even attended Binghamton University. It was clear that this was the official team for this area in upstate New York. By the way the arena was beautiful and held over 5000 people with 6 additional luxury boxes. Seemed like every business in the city was a sponsor as well.

This leads me to the actual team at Binghamton. And as a side note folks should understand this is a very competitive university and 1 of 4 research centers in the State University of NY system. Kids often turn down Ivy League schools to attend Binghamton.

Well this is really a PROGRAM with GREAT COACHING and LEADERSHIP. The Head Coach, Kevin Broadus, will one day soon be at the highest level of college basketball. he is that good and a true motivator who makes sure to encourage his players while also making them stay focused. They had that North Carolina type attitude. Run off the court when subbed for. Run to the table to be subbed into the game. Everyone got into the game. Run to the locker room at the end of the half. PLAY HARD EVERY POSSESSION! All I can say for this GQ looking staff and program is WELL DONE!

Now lets discuss Tiki Mayben. This is a kid who really has found a great home. I still remember watching him the summer prior to his sophomore year in HS when he was rated the number 1 sophomore in the nation by Hoop Scoop. He was mature beyond belief. He committed to Syracuse University early but at the last moment he attended The University of Massachusetts in Amherst where he was a good and solid player. Something happened and he left after that freshmen season and turned up at Hudson Valley Community College where he had a very good Sophomore year. Now he is at Binghamton of the America East Conference. Not exactly the Big East or the A10, but honestly, not that far off in regards to program type, Fan support and university commitment.

Tiki has certainly come a long way from where folks thought he would be. But honestly he is at the right place for him. This kid is a WINNER! This kid will be a future executive when he is finished with basketball. His degree from Binghamton will take him places he never even imagined. Tiki finally gets it. He finally did his thing as opposed to listening to others and not doing what is right for him.

Basketball wise I thought Tiki looked very good. In fact the backcourt at Binghamton with Tiki, DJ Rivera (Transfer from St. Joe's), Malik Alvin and others, could compete with most backcourts in the country. They just do not have the talent up front, especially with Theo Davis being injured and not in game shape. Tiki had a great shooting game but his leadership, something he can use in sports and the world of work, was what really set him apart from others. It left me with a great feeling about what the college experience should really be.

I left understanding how this team upset Rutgers. But I also left wondering why more tri state area players and coaches have not discovered and realized what a great place and program Binghamton University is.

Bob Oliva Out at Christ the King

I hate this stuff. I do not know Coach Oliva personally, but I will be the first to say..... INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. Guy waits 25 years to accuse this man and than demand $750,000. Please! Now a reputation is scarred and trust me when I tell you he will have a hard time regaining his reputation. What a shame. Again I say these type of cases should never have names revealed until the case goes to trial. I really think the names should not be released until a guilty verdict is reached. More reputations are ruined over stuff like this and people never ever recover.

Coach Oliva did so much for so many at Christ the King. And I never saw him display an ego. He was always a gentleman!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love going to school down here at College Station gig'em! I was just wondering about the gyms in College Station are there any good ones to train at?